JACIII Vol.22 No.1 pp. 121-132
doi: 10.20965/jaciii.2018.p0121


Basic Study of the Influence of the Manner of Grasping, Number of Contacts, and Auditory Information on Recognition of Hardness of Objects by Visually Impaired Persons Using White Canes

Kiyohiko Nunokawa*, Manabu Chikai**, Kouki Doi***, and Shuichi Ino**

*Tokyo International University
2509 Matoba, Kawagoe, Saitama 350-1198, Japan

**National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology
1-1-1 Central 6, Higashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8566, Japan

***National Institute of Special Needs Education
5-1-1 Nobi, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 239-8585, Japan

December 16, 2016
October 27, 2017
January 20, 2018
white cane, visual impairment, tactile information, auditory information

White canes are widely used as tools to assist visually impaired persons to walk. The white cane is used to acquire environmental information as a clue for walking. It is important to know what information can be acquired by using the cane, how accurate the acquired information is, and how we can improve the information and accuracy. Clarification of these questions would contribute to development of white canes that enable better acquisition of environmental information. It would also assist in the design of buildings with appropriate guidance for visually impaired persons on the basis of information acquired through the canes. In this study, in order to acquire basic knowledge about hardness recognition, experiments were performed using four conditions: 1) Tapping or pushing the object with the index finger tip and white cane tip, 2) use or non-use of the auditory sense to study its usefulness, 3) different ways of grasping the cane, and 4) different number of checks. Nine visually impaired persons who usually walked alone using white canes participated in the experiments. They estimated the hardness of a rubber sheet under various combinations of the operation conditions and hearing conditions. Results showed that the number of checks had little effect on the user’s estimation of the hardness of the sheet. For the recognition of the contact target hardness using the white cane, it was effective to simultaneously use information from different modalities, namely tactile and auditory information. We also observed that, when pushing the cane with the index fingers, the users could feel the objects as if they had directly touched them with the fingers.

  1. [1] W. H. Jacobson, “The Art and Science of Teaching Orientation and Mobility to Persons With Visual Impairments, Second Edition,” American Foundation for the Blind, 2013.
  2. [2] H. Shibata, “Orientation and Mobility Training for People With Visual Impairments in Japan – A Comparison of Training in 1965 and in 2005,” Jpn. J. Spec. Educ., Vol.43, No.2, pp. 93-100, 2005.
  3. [3] L. N. Gitlin, J. Mount, W. Lucas, L. C. Weirich, and L. Gramberg, “The physical costs and psychological benefits of travel aids for persons who are visually impaired or blind,” J. of Visual lmpairment and Blindness, Vol.91, pp. 347-359, 1997.
  4. [4] Y. Kobayashi, R. Osaka, T. Hara, and H. Fujimoto, “How accurately people can discriminate the differences of floor materials with various elasticities,” IEEE Trans. Neural Syst Rehabil Eng, Vol.16, No.1, pp. 99-105, 2008.
  5. [5] T. Hara, Y. Kobayashi, D. Shiote, and H. Fujimoto, “A Study on Discrimination Easiness between the Flooring Materials with Different Sense of Touch for the Visually Impaired Persons Walking with White Canes,” J. of the Japanese Society for Wellbeing Science and Assistive Technology, Vol.13, No.2, pp. 23-28, 2013.
  6. [6] S. J. Lederman and R. L. Klatzky, “Hand movements : A window into haptic object recognition,” Cognitive Psychology, Vol.19, pp. 342-368, 1987.
  7. [7] S. J. Lederman and R. L. Klatzky, “The hand as a perceptual system,” K. J. Connolly (Ed.), The psychobiology of the hand, Cambridge University Press, 1998.
  8. [8] K. Nunokawa, S. Ino, and T. Ifukube, “The Fundamental Research on Tactile Perception of A Object through The Cane,” Proc. of the Human Interface Symposium 2008, pp. 527-530, 2008.
  9. [9] K. Nunokawa, S. Ino, and N. Ideguchi, “An experimental study on tactile perception of an object through the cane,” Proc. of the 50th Annual Meeting of Japan Ergonomics Society, pp. 202-203, 2009.
  10. [10] K. Nunokawa,, S. Ino, and T. Ifukube, “A psychophysical study of tactile perception on an object hardness through the white cane,” Proc. of the Human Interface Symposium 2009, pp. 517-520, 2009.
  11. [11] K. Nunokawa and Ino, Shuichi, “A psychophysical study of indirect tactile perception on an object hardness through the white cane,” Proc. of 10th SICE System Integration Division Annual Conf., pp. 147-148, 2009.
  12. [12] K. Nunokawa and Ino, Shuichi, “An Experimental Study on Target Recognition Using White Canes,” Proc. of the 32nd Annual Int. Conf. of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society – Merging Medical Humanism and Technology, pp. 6583-6586, 2010.
  13. [13] K. Nunokawa, S. Ino, and T. Ifukube, “A psychophysical study of tactile perception on an object hardness according to the difference of how to grasp the white cane,” Proc. of the Human Interface Symposium 2011, pp. 53-854, 2011.
  14. [14] G. A. Gescheider, “Psychophysics: The Fundamentals,” 3rd Ed., Psychology Press., 1997.
  15. [15] S. S. Stevens, “Issues in Psychophysical Measurement,” Psychological Review, Vol.78, No.5, pp. 426-450, 1971.
  16. [16] J. Mount, P. D. Hooward, A. D. Palu, A. Grafstrom, D. M. Pinto, and S. L. Rudy, “Postures and Repetitive Movements During Use of a Long Cane by Individuals with Visual Impairment,” J. of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, Vol.31, No.7, pp. 375-383, 2001.
  17. [17] D. W. Dew and G. M. Alan (Eds.), “Contemporary Issues in Orientation and Mobility,” The George Washington University Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program, 2004.
  18. [18] Y. Seki, “Wide-Range Auditory Orientation Training System for Blind O&M,” Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Access to the Human Environment and Culture, Part IV, pp. 150-159, 2015.

*This site is desgined based on HTML5 and CSS3 for modern browsers, e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge, IE9,10,11, Opera.

Last updated on Apr. 20, 2018